I was talking to a good friend the other day at lunch, and he was describing the first time he realized he needed glasses. He was in a business meeting and during a break, he jokingly picked up a pair of eyeglasses belonging to a business associate and put them on. He always thought the way he saw the world was the way the world really existed. The lines were blurred, the colors muted and to him, that was the reality until this moment. As he slipped the glasses on, he saw a world that, while it resembled the world he knew, it was much more alive with crisp lines and vibrant colors. A revelation like this both shatters our current perception of reality and gives us a new appreciation for the world around us.
How Ocular Business Myopathy Occurs:
I think many of us get Ocular Business Myopathy (a continual weakening of our ability to see the true nature of our business) over time. As our business lens adapts to the world around us, we start to see things as our continually weakening natural lenses allow us to see it. Our original mission, once so vivid and exciting, becomes compromised and diluted. The time altered view turns into something unexciting and the challenge and hope begin to fade. Our answers to the issues of the day are often based on old visions and old solutions using old tools. Because we don’t cognitively realize that our vision has weakened, we don’t see the need for a new business lens to view the challenges at hand.
Adjusting Our Lenses in 3 Steps
So how do we correct this degenerative disease and avoid the potentially damaging results?
While I’m not a physician (and I haven’t even played one on TV or stayed in a Holiday Inn Express lately), I have struggled with this dilemma over the years. I have found several courses of action that helped me to correct my degraded and damaged business lens. They all involve simply slipping on a new set of proverbial business lenses through which to see the world, but just like our eyeglasses, not all prescriptions will work for us. Make sure to choose the lens that allows the most clarity for your particular business vision.
1. Try On New Lenses
The first exercise to “try on a new lens” is easy and can be done in the comfort of your own home, your office or the nearest cozy coffee establishment. Buy a few books that your friends or business associates keep recommending to you and actually READ them. Digest the words with the intention of determining how the ideas expressed can help you understand your current business issues better or how they can help you correct your long term vision. Compare their ideas with the world as you see it. Look for those ideas and concepts that give you a clearer image of your current surroundings and challenge you to refocus. Then put some into practice.
2. Create Community With Mentors That Will Challenge You
The second vision improvement activity is to intentionally create fellowship with others in your industry who appear to be winning in those areas where your vision has become dull. You can do this through becoming more active in a local trade association like the ABC, AGC or CFMA or just call up an colleague in the industry and ask for some time over lunch to discuss what they are doing in their businesses or jobs that appear to be working. Be willing to share with them your view on the issues as well.
3. Repeat Continuously
Finally (and most importantly) no matter how you choose to “try on” your new business lens, make sure you choose the one that gives you the clearest vision and then keep it on. Just like our physical bodies, our business vision will become cloudy and blurred again if we don’t keep up these exercises. Embrace the new, vibrant business landscape and look for those answers that were hidden before.